Arizona Legislature plans to adjourn Monday but wants road-tax deal first

Bob Christie
Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX — Republicans who hold the Arizona Legislature majority are working to strike a final deal with Gov. Katie Hobbs and leaders of cities, counties and tribes in metro Phoenix over extending a transportation tax, and the outcome has statewide implications.Failure to get a plan out of the Legislature that the Democratic governor will sign — and that can win support of Maricopa County voters next year — would affect all of Arizona.That’s because the regional planning agency called Maricopa Association of Governments, or MAG, funds its own projects outside the state government general fund using the sales tax proceeds. If Maricopa County voters don’t extend the tax for another 20 years, it will go away, after paying for massive expansions of the region’s freeway and roads system, bus routes and light rail over nearly four decades.If the tax is extended, proceeds will average about $1 billion a year over the coming 20 years. If it goes away, transportation projects in the other 14 counties will suddenly be competing for limited state transportation dollars with a county that is home to nearly two-thirds of Arizonans.

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